Feature photo taken off the russ-artist Kjuus by Ronja Sagstuen Larsen

The russefeiring (English: “russ celebration”) is a traditional celebration for Norwegian high school students in their final spring semester. Students that take part in the celebrations are known as ‘russ’. The russefeiring traditionally starts on around 20th April and ends on 17th May, the Norwegian Constitution day.

They celebrate in groups with different themes, and many of them decide to release songs around these concepts. This is a great way to start earning money on your music and experiment with trying out new genres.  BUT there are 5 things you need to be aware of before you make a deal with the Russ.

Contracts
You always need a contract about the deal you are doing with a signature from the bus.
You will have a much easier time solving potential problems if you have a contract, which can answer questions and address topics such as:

  • How many rewrites on the song can they ask for?
  • How much creative control do they have on the song?
  • How are they supposed to pay for the song
  • Should they pay half of it beforehand and half of it after release, or another type of cut?

You need to make it clear that the Russ is paying for the promotional value of having their name on the song , and that they are not paying to own the song. It’s important that the contract states that you, as the producer, own all the rights to the song and that they are not paying for the recording. Without this in the contract things can get messy if they argue they paid for the “master-rights”- but this is easily avoidable!

legal bindersContracts don’t need to be long or advanced. A couple of pages can save you from many problems

Copyright
When you create intellectual property such as music, you own the copyright for the song. This means that you have the exclusive rights to publish your song and the rights to all the money the song earns. It goes both ways, and protects you from having other artists use your intellectual property without your permission.

Why are we telling you this? Because of sampling. Be careful about using sounds from other sources and double-check that you have the rights to use them. Nothing is more annoying than having to give away a portion of the money on your breakthrough single because you used unapproved sounds from their TV-show, movie or song!

Artwork
The same thing can give you trouble with artwork. Releasing songs with a logo, name or image that is trademarked could give you trouble, or stop the track rom being released at all!

Make sure that your cover art is original and cleared for distribution. The safest thing is to make original artwork for your release and not use any russ imagery or logo.

Tips about communicating with the russ
Remember that the russ have planned this year in year out, involving thousands of students (and thousands of krone!). They are busy people and have a million other things to organize and plan for the event. Try and be as professional as possible when communicating with them, and save all your email correspondence  so there can’t be any misunderstandings.

Promoting your song
You have at least 20 people who are ready to promote your song for you, which is pretty unique for up and coming artists! Make the most of it and set up a good plan for how they are supposed to promote your song online and on different social media – it’s a great opportunity to promote your songs with a reach you would normally have a hard time getting without paying a lot of money!

Even Zedd and Skrillex have released music for the russ. You can check them out here!